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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1687 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

The last thing that I would like to do, Mr Speaker, before I resume my seat is to offer my congratulations to the secretariat, in particular to Mr Bill Symington for the way that he was able to condense the views of all of the people who gave evidence to the committee into a comprehensive report. This, as members would appreciate, was done against the background of a lot of committee activity in the Assembly and a large workload on the committee secretariat. Mr Speaker, I wonder whether you would personally thank Mr Symington for his effort on this issue, because it is something that the committee really appreciated. It made our job a lot easier and it also added to the quality of the report.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, I will pass those comments on to Mr Symington and the staff.

MR HIRD (10.49): Mr Speaker, I echo what the committee chairman just said in respect of Mr Symington. I would like the record to show that I appreciated the wide interest that was shown in this select committee and in the evidence that was given to the committee. I was disappointed this morning to hear my colleague Mr Berry using this to whip the Government. The Government is conscious of the problems with workers in the ACT. The report indicated a bipartisan approach to a very vexed question which came across from the Commonwealth with self-government in 1989. To use this as a mechanism to get even is nonsense. A lot of people out there, Mr Speaker, are very concerned about the welfare of family members, and we, as a government, are very concerned about our employees. To denigrate that approach does little credit to Mr Berry.

When you go through the report the crux of the whole thing, Mr Speaker, is this recommendation at the end of it:

any consideration of the possible appointment of an alternative provider be contingent upon the outcome of that evaluation -

remember that the evaluation of Comcare will be for a minimum of 12 months -

and the capacity of an alternative provider to deliver ...

In other words, Mr Speaker, we have put Comcare on notice. Comcare is the provider at the moment, but if it cannot come up with the goods we will look for an alternative provider. It has to deliver the goods. Mr Speaker, we are not saying that we are against Comcare, but it has to improve its game. We have an obligation on behalf of the citizens of the Territory and the 17,500 public servants who are using this agency. The people at Comcare should straighten out their problems and smarten up their approach to business and the service that they provide. I put it to you, Mr Speaker, that we have an obligation, a right and a duty, on behalf of our employees, to make sure that they get the best possible deliverer of these types of services. I am not confident, as a member of the committee, that that came across to the committee.

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